HOUSING IN AUSTRIA
How to prepare your housing search
You can find a nice apartment for a reasonable price in Austria if you take your time and do some preparation before you start looking.
The rental market is well developed in Austria; you will find a broad range of offers from very old buildings with a lot of Ã¢â‚¬ËœcharacterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ up to brand-new, very comfortable flats. First, try to get a feeling for where you would like to live. City centres are crowded and expensive. Outside the centres, housing is cheaper; you are closer to nature and may still be able to reach the city in a short time by using public transport. Apartment prices vary greatly depending on the area in the respective city. For example, in the outer districts of Vienna you will easily spot the difference (are there only luxury cars parked on the streets?) and be able to guess the appropriate price range. Walk around and try to get an impression of what the area is like. Then check the public transport (Metro, Bus, Train) and how long it will take you to reach your workplace, university or points of interest.
Many students live in shared apartments. There tends to be a relatively higher turnover of free rooms, so there is a fair chance you find a room in a shared apartment quickly.
Cost of living in Austria
Austria has a relatively expensive cost of living. It is cheaper than Switzerland or Nordic countries, but more expensive than Spain or Italy. In the countryside everything is cheaper, but it is more likely you will live and work in Vienna or one of the other larger cities. As a single person you should calculate around Ã¢â€šÂ¬1400 as a monthly budget to have a comfortable life. Apartment prices start at around Ã¢â€šÂ¬400 per month for rent, excluding utilities.
What to consider before signing a contract
A standard rental contract is signed for a period of three years. Once you have your apartment, you are legally well protected and your landlord will not be able to easily kick you out. You would not believe it, but if you do not have a rental contract, the situation is even better for you. Therefore, landlords carefully select potential candidates, and you better try to appear as a trustworthy person with sufficient financial power to pay your rent on time.
When you get accepted and have the rental contract on hand Ã¢â‚¬â€œ how can you make sure everything is OK? Get it checked by an Austrian friend who knows about the issues, or contact the appropriate institution called Mietervereinigung at http://www.mietervereinigung.at
For a small annual fee you get full support and consultation in all legal aspects concerning your rental contract.
A Deposit in the range of one to three monthly rents is standard in Austria.
For getting large, mainly older apartments, landlords sometimes will ask you to pay an Abfindung Ã¢â‚¬â€œ this is a one-time payment and it is generally not legal! One-time compensations can only be claimed for respective value added to the apartment, e.g. when new furniture has been added. If you pay such a fee, make sure that your payment is well documented. In case you find out that it was not appropriate, you may be able to claim it back. However, especially in Vienna, people sometimes prefer to pay the Abfindung in order to get a large apartment for a small monthly rent.
Short term accomodation
There are also some alternative housing options available that might be interesting for a start. The right accomodation for for you depends on your individual professional and personal needs.
For those who are coming to Austria alone, WGs or Wohngemeinschaften (shared living arrangements) are often a good option as you can live cheaply and meet new people. WG's are most common among students and young professionals, but you can also find shared apartments among older ones. Living in a WG obviously means sharing kitchen and bathroom. Be aware that WG-Zimmer is often not furnished. The main challenges are to find a place and to make sure you are going to be able to get along with who you are living with. Have a good talk with your prospective flatmate/s to make sure your lifestyle expectations match. Conflicts (concerning cleaning up, using the bathroom, cookingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦) are all easy ways to get into uncomfortable arrangement. So watch out before moving to somebody you might not get along with or it can also be a good idea to draw up a plan.
If you intend to stay in Austria for a limited time, you can consider temporary accommodation, which is also a solution as an interim solution before settling in more permanently. In Austria, tenants are often allowed to sublet their apartment for a limited time. Since many young people travel a lot, this is actually quite common. Sublets can generally be found under the terms Untermiete or Zwischenmiete. This means that the flats or rooms are sublet with a contract signed with the tenant, not the landlord.
Mitwohnzentralen - a fast way to find accommodation
A good way to find temporary accommodation is to contact the local Mietwohnzentrale if there is one in your town. These agencies concentrate on finding furnished rooms in Wohngemeinschaften and furnished apartments for limited periods of between one month and one year. They charge a fee for their services.
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re searching for a small apartment, a room or a shared apartment in Vienna, the accommodation centre will help you to find it. Either for short or long time, close by the city or metropolitan area. Ask for an accommodation request form (Vermittlungsauftrag) to be sent to you. It is worth following up your request with all the agencies at regular intervals. Do not pay any charges in advance, agencies are only allowed to charge commission once a legally binding rent agreement has been signed.
Another possibility to find a cheap short term accommodation is a Jugendwohnhaus. The city Vienna offers therefore young people under the age of 30, which are working ore training here in Vienna a place to live. The kinds of accommodation are single bedrooms, 1-room studios and 2-room-studios. The housing units are generally equipped with telephone as well mainly SATV. Further facilities like laundry, sauna, gymnastic room and library can be used by the inhabitants. Furthermore contains the monthly amount all working expenses, consumption fees for electricity, warm and chilled water as well as central heating.
Further details: www.kwj.at